How to Compare HSA Providers in Canada

By: Updated: April 15, 2021

It's no secret that Health Spending Accounts help small business owners save on medical expenses. However, choosing a provider can be a difficult decision because many seeking an HSA may have no prior experience with the plan and as a result, do not know what to expect. Here's a few things to look for besides just the cost(s) of the plan. Because an HSA deals directly with taxation, you want to be sure your provider complies to the rules set by CRA. 

What is a Health Spending Account?

Most companies offering a Health Spending Account (HSA) may refer to them as a Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) or Private Health Services Plan (PHSP). These names are used interchangeably and usually mean one and the same thing. For ease of reading, I will refer to these plans as a Health Spending Account (or HSA) for the rest of the article.

While providers may use fancy jargon or advertise their plan differently, the base offering is still a Health Spending Account. The plan is a cost-effective way to provide health and dental benefits to employees. Simply put, health and dental benefits offered through this plan are fully tax deductible to the business and received 100% tax free by the employees. There are no premiums, hidden fees, deductibles, copay, or complex policies.

Who can use a Health Spending Account?

You are eligible for a Health Spending Account if you:

  1. Own an incorporated business
  2. Pay medical bills
  3. Pay income tax / receive T4 income

It is important to note that some providers may offer Health Spending Accounts to sole proprietors. There are certain rules that apply. For example, a sole proprietor is only eligible if they have at least one arm's length employees. Olympia Benefits does not offer any HSA plans to unincorporated businesses. 


How to choose your HSA provider

For the most part, Health Spending Accounts (HSA) are marketed and administered by reputable firms with a proven and documented track record. Unfortunately, the industry is unregulated and there are no barriers to entry.

1. Transparency

Consider the following questions when you're researching your Health Spending Account options:

  1. Do you have access to the provider's financial statements?
  2. Are the product offerings and prices available for everyone to see? Are they keeping costs hidden and making you wait for quotes? 
  3. Does the provider have an external auditor?
  4. Is the provider accountable for their actions? What regulatory bodies do they report to?
  5. Do they have a privacy policy?
  6. How is your personal data accessed and stored?

2. A Physical Office

Although most providers have moved to online claims, it is still important to know where your provider is located and how you can get in touch with them in person (if need be). How would you feel sending your family's medical history, banking information, and company cheque to a PO Box?  What guarantee do you have that you will receive a reimbursement?

3. No IT infrastructure

To secure your medical, financial, and personal information, a business needs to deploy significant resources to develop their IT infrastructure. Look for the following capabilities to verify the provider's IT competence:

  1. Secure online account access
  2. Secure online applications
  3. Secure online claims
  4. Secure payment gateway

Many new, small providers do not have the resources to develop their Information Technology.  Not only will your service level be compromised, but your key personal data may be at risk.  A quick look at the provider's website should give you a strong indication of their competence.

4. Compliance with CRA

As you may know, getting on the bad side with the CRA is a nightmare. When dealing with a Health Spending Account, you want to be sure your business is eligible before you sign up for the plan. Some providers may have loose sign ups and allow anyone to enter into an HSA although they are not eligible. This can cause big problems down the road. Be sure to consult with a reputable provider who is willing to go in depth into your situation if you are unsure about anything. Many years in the HSA industry can be an indication of years of experience dealing with all types of businesses. 

Why choose Olympia Benefits to provide your Health Spending Account?

With over 20 years of experience and 57,000+ clients, Olympia Benefits has been in the insurance industry every step of the way. Our prices also speak for themselves. The HSA Basic, Plus, and Deluxe have no administration fees. That can save you thousands. The HSA Group plan has the lowest administration fee in the industry at 8% compared to the average 10%. Don’t forget about our free eBooks, blogs, and webinars. But you don't have to take it from us, check our over 160+ 5 star reviews on Google


Learn why Olympia is a top Canadian Health Spending Account provider:

1. Our prices are available for everyone to see. No hidden fees.

The pricing model is simple and cost-effective. We are open about our prices because we know they bring real value.

  • No hidden fees
  • No unwritten clauses
  • No monthly premiums

The price you see is the price you get, it’s that simple. Check our pricing

2. Your claim will be processed within 2 days.

Nobody wants to wait weeks for a refund. That’s why our turnaround time is an industry leading factor. 

99% of claims are reimbursed within 2 business days. In most cases, it will be done in 24 hours.  

3. More than 57,000 small businesses choose Olympia

Since 1997, Olympia has been offering creative health and dental solutions for small business owners. As a result, we know small business owners and their needs. We’ve been in the industry for every minor or major change, still running every step of the way with 57,000+ clients. You can trust that our prices are reflective of our service. 


Next Steps: Download the Beginner's Guide to a Health Spending Account

Download this guide if you are a self employed business owner: 

Beginner's Guide to Health Spending Accounts

Download this guide if you are a small business with arm's length employees: 

Beginners Guide to Health Spending Accounts for small biz


Write off 100% of your medical expenses

Are you an incorporated business owner with no employees? Learn how to use a Health Spending Account to pay for your medical expenses through your corporation: 

Download the HSA Guide for Incorporated Individuals

Do you own a corporation with employees? Discover a tax deductible health and dental plan that has no premiums:

Download the HSA Guide for a Business with Staff

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